Saturday, March 9

Yeah, I'm Still Around....

Late during the week before last, I came down with the worst case of flu that I have suffered in my adult life. For six days straight I ran triple-digit fever, accompanied by chills, achiness, and a general lassitude that has been very difficult getting through. I don't remember ever being this sick for this long, and frankly felt worse than when I had a heart attack a couple of years ago. Sure, that was painful in the event itself, frightening as all get out, and frustrating at being confined to the hospital for several days, but honestly I was not that uncomfortable for most of the period and was in and out of the hospital in less time than I was knocked flat on my back for the better part of last week. Although it came at a very bad time of semester, ramping up toward giving midterm exams this coming week, I ended up missing the entire week of classes and have still felt wiped out most of this week as I try to pick up the shattered pieces of this semester.

One measure of how sick I was is that it wasn't until the sixth day that I could focus my mind enough to read more than short bits and pieces off news sites and blogs. Before that I had a stack of half a dozen comics, all that remained for me to read from my end-of-January box of DC Comics, sitting unread by my bed. Then, it was kind of slow getting my cotton-filled  brain kick-started again. While I could read okay for several days, I was not really able to focus well on framing thoughts into any kind of productive note-taking.

But as I slowly read through those few issues, I discovered something that was reemphasized to me as I also picked up a long set-aside two-volume set of library-bound comics that I'd started well nigh on two years ago, Jerry Ordway's marvelous 1990s series, The Power of Shazam – the simple pleasure of reading for pleasure. Not worrying about taking notes – which like most things I do I end up going obsessive-compulsively overboard with – just reading.

And I decided on something. While I'm not discontinuing this blog, I am going to put a good bit less work into it. No longer am I going to try to write a paragraph or even a short essay about virtually each and every thing I read. It's going to become more a record of my reading than anything else, with mainly just identifying information, a cover image, and maybe some short comment if I really feel compelled either by something that strikes me as overwhelmingly note-worthy or by my sheer enthusiasm for the item. There may be some other type posts as well, both the occasional political, social, or religious commentary as I've done before from time to time, and maybe other types of entries about something I'm reading, such as right now I've progressed from Power of Shazam to another long-delayed reading of a series I had library-bound a while back, Roy Thomas' 1980s masterpiece, All-Star Squadron in three volumes, for which I'm slowly building up a set of historical annotations. But generally speaking, I intend this blog to be leaner and meaner in the future. There's too much damn good stuff out there to read – especially older material, both pulps and comics – that I've been putting off because I've been lingering too long over current comics, both writing up notes while I'm reading and fleshing out those notes once I'm done with a month's set.

Of course, it remains to be seen if my obsessive nature can be held in check. This isn't the first time I've tried to scale back this blog, and it may not be the last. But what I do not want to happen is that I get so overwhelmed by it that I just shut it down completely, and at the worst point last week I was seriously considering just that. Sure, it's a narcissistic exercise, but I do generally find it fulfilling to have a forum to throw my thoughts out there, and do like having the record of my readings and ruminations established if for nothing more than my own aide de memoire. So I intend to keep it around in some form.

In any case, since I've been a bit incommunicado for a while I thought I'd post this revised “mission statement” for the blog, as well as an explanation why.

Cheers, and Thanks for reading.


  1. Sorry to hear you have been ill Kent I had something similar although sounds less virulent 2 weeks ago, it has still left me with some after-effects (mainly bad cough) which is the reason I'm downstairs reading blogs at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.
    Also your candidness about your heart attack as I always feel an affinity with anyone who has or had heart problems, as someone who was born with a heart defect I fully appreciate how anything heart related can affect not just your life but the life of those around you. My wife bless her constantly worries about me not that she lets on but I see it in her eyes especially when I'm under the weather, the revelation last year that the operation to repair my faulty valve when I was 14 was not as successful as was have previously believed all these years ago hit her hard. It seems that technology has moved on from the 70's and they can see things now they couldn't see even 10 years ago when I had my last check, but I'm fit and fairly healthy and have a lot to be grateful for, wonderful wife 2 happy children and 2 beautiful grandchildren. I also live in an age where I can connect with people all over the world and share like minded thoughts, people who I consider friends even though I am unlikely to ever meet them, but you never know.

    However I have strayed off my point which is I enjoy reading your blogs and thoroughly appreciate the grasp you have on the English language, it is truly a gift to be able to put your thoughts down as eloquently as you do so hats off to you Sir.
    What ever form your future blogs take I have no doubt they will be worth reading and I for one will be there to read them, all the best to you and your family Kent.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Rob. Interesting to hear of your heart problems, and I will definitely keep you in my prayers. You're right, it does affect you and all around you. In my case, it's not a congenital problem, just run of the mill artheriosclerosis (albeit with an overwhelming hereditary disposition in my paternal line), but it is something that's been looming over me since I was about 12 when my father had his first triple-bypass surgery at age 42 (pre-empting a heart attack). I knew it would hit me sooner or later, luckily it was a little later (age 48) and advances in medicine meant mine was treated much less invasively (angioplasty and insertion of two stents). Daddy lived on for almost thirty years (through two more open-heart surgeries and countless angioplasties), so I know I've still got a long hard row to hoe -- but I hope, intend, and pray to be as long-lived as he was.

    Of course, now *I've* strayed from my main point, which is also agreement that the wonderful world of the Internet has opened up so many possibilities for "virtual" friendships as you mention. I do hope to someday share that beer with you as we've mentioned before. I enjoy reading your blog as well, and already inferred from it that there are a lot of similarities between yourself and me -- it's unfortunate that it extends to the heart issues! My blog will be staying around, just likely a little less frequent and particularly the comic book monthly roundups will be a bit leaner.

    Oh, by the way, I'm not sure I've ever mentioned the exact circumstances of my heart attack. It was literally as we debarked from the plane coming home from our most recent trip to the UK in 2010 (see the UK 2010 page up top - that's what the cryptic comment at the end refers to)! I didn't recognise it for what it was, however, thinking it was just a pulled muscle from the heavy load of carry-ons I'd been carting around since that morning, especially when the pain went away after I divested myself of some of that weight. It wasn't until the next morning that it came back with such a vengeance that I told my wife, "We better go to the Emergency Room."

    Or, the way I posted to Facebook at that time was, "I love the UK so much it almost killed me coming home!"